When it comes to making money online there are three elements that everyone MUST have in order to succeed:
1 — Something to sell
2 — A website that makes the sale
3 — People coming to that site and buying
Getting items 1 and 2 set up and in place are as easy as pie. In fact, you can have these in place in the next 10 minutes.
But it’s that third element, getting real people to come to your site and buy something, that has most people stumped.
Getting visitors to your site is called, in Internet terms, getting traffic. And there is no other topic on which so much is written, and so much is wrong.
Being a fairly simple-minded fellow, I like to keep things simple and easy to understand. In that light, here are some thoughts on understanding, and getting traffic.
FIRST THINGS FIRST…
There are basically two types of traffic:
Everybody pays… some with time, others with money. I’m sure by now you know that the “three click” wonders don’t work for anyone … except the people selling them!
So there is paid traffic and free traffic. Nothing more. Nothing less. Let’s look at each and see how they work.
In this post, I’m going to touch on free traffic. In future posts (there are a few parts to this series) I will dig deeper into both free and paid methods, including what’s working now.
First, an overview of free traffic methods that actually work, and some to avoid.
Free Traffic Methods That Work
If ever there was a siren song of the digital age, ‘free traffic’ is it.
- Can you really get absolutely free traffic to your site? Sure.
- Can you build a business based on this traffic? Yes.
BUT – and there is always a but – you will have to learn how to get it and work hard as well. If that’s okay with you, let’s look at how it works.
Here are the main sources of free traffic, along with a word about each…
Often touted as the #1 way to get free traffic, the tactic here is to get your site listed in the venerated ‘top ten’ search results. You can’t trick the search engines, like Google, so the best way to do this is to provide content and lots of it.
If your site is helpful to human readers you will do well.
If you try and outsmart the search engines to get the traffic you will go broke buying the latest and greatest thingy that simply won’t work, or won’t work long.
Create a content rich site and the search engines will reward you by displaying that site when people search for the type of information you provide. But the content must be high quality and must be original.
Free ads are a mixed blessing. They are free, which is good. They usually don’t work, which is bad.
If you can get a free ad in a place where ads are usually sold, like the free ad you get for subscribing to some ezines or classified ad sites that are visited by people, then it might be worth the time.
BUT – ad blasters and automated submitters do not work in testing and are to be avoided.
Without a doubt, marketing with articles is the #1 free traffic method. You don’t need to be Hemmingway to do this.
All you have to do is write a short article – about 800 words works best – that describes a problem people face and also provides ways to solve that problem.
HOT TIP: Have you been frustrated in your efforts to get an online business started and making profits? Have you learned from that experience? If so, that makes great article material. See, you really do have something to say!
Once your article is written, you can submit it to article directories, ezines, other website owners, and more to get the widest possible distribution.
Write and submit an article a week and very soon you will get very interested visitors who are proven to buy.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
How long have you been trying to make money online? What if you had written only one article a week during that time? For many reading this it would mean an inventory of 100 articles or more.
And that is a large enough inventory of articles to make many many sales! Put time on your side by writing articles every week, and more often if you can.
Viral marketing basically means creating something of value that others can give away while making sure you benefit from it being given away.
The key here is that you both win when the product is given freely.
In most cases, the person who gives the book away for you wins by providing good information that they don’t have to write.
You win because the product contains links back to your site.
A real win-win!
The most common form of this is either software or a short e-book or report.
Creating a viral marketing e-book is a win-win situation. You win because the links in the product are yours, so you get paid when people click. Readers win because you provide valuable information and they can give the booklet free from their website.
PUBLISH AN EZINE
Publishing an ezine is highly profitable and easy to do.
All you need to do is gather, or write, articles about a specific subject and publish an ezine (like the one you are reading now) on a schedule. That might mean every week or every month.
Publish an ezine, offer it to everyone in your address book and who visits your site, and watch your traffic grow.
PUBLISH A BLOG
This is super easy today. If you have a hosting account, the chances are you have blogging software on that account free.
Installing WordPress is a snap and something many hosting companies make possible with one click. Especially if your hosting company uses CPanel.
The basic idea here is the same as a website … provide great content and the search engines send people.
The advantage of a blog is that you can have some interactivity by letting people comment, and you can easily structure your blog for easy reading.
Plus you can offer an RSS feed for those who prefer that method of getting content automatically.
Set up a blog today, provide great content, and the search engines will send traffic over time.
PARTICIPATE ON FORUMS
This is an excellent, and free, way to earn while you learn. The idea here is to visit forums that are specific to your site and post questions or make comments.
This works well if you understand reciprocity and are willing to give a bit before you receive. It does not work at all if your forum post is simply an ad in disguise.
Once forum members get to know and trust you a bit they will visit the site you list in your signature area.
If you visit the forums specific to your topic of interest and get involved, you will get very targeted free traffic on a steady basis. I know of one major marketer who built his reputation using this method more than any others. This works!
As you can see, there are many ways to get free traffic to your site. These methods do take time.
But if you have more time than money at this point in your life, these techniques will work to get traffic to your site.
I hope they work for you too.
Soon we will look at even MORE ways to get traffic free — so stayed tuned!